History/Origin of the Dalmatian

Horse and buggy with DalmatiansWe are still not absolutely sure of the exact origin of the Dalmatian. The most reliable of sources suggests they originated in the eastern Mediterranean from where they spread to India and over Europe. Some suggest they did this while travelling with gypsies. The name suggests the breed came from Dalmatia, (a historical region of Croatia on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea), but researchers have found this wasn’t the case.

The name Dalmatian did come relatively late in their history approximately around the late 1790’s, but there are records of spotted dogs in paintings, sketchings and artifacts dated well before this time. The so called then spotted dog was seen beside war chariots and with all types of horse drawn carriages, This is probably how they received their second name The Carriage Dog. The roles of this ancient breed are as varied as their reputed ancestors. They were used as dogs of war, guarding the borders of Dalmatia. To this day, the breed retains a high guarding instinct; although friendly and loyal to those the dog knows and trusts, it is often aloof with strangers and unknown dogs.

Fire Steamer Cart with DalmatiansDalmatians have a strong hunting instinct and are an excellent exterminator of rats and vermin. In sporting, they have been used as bird dogs, trail hounds, retrievers, or in packs for boar or stag hunting. Their dramatic markings and intelligence have made them successful circus dogs throughout the years. Dalmatians are perhaps best known for their role as fire-fighting apparatus escorts and firehouse mascots. Since Dalmatians and horses are very compatible, the dogs were easily trained to run in front of the carriages to help clear a path and quickly guide the horses and firefighters to the fires. Dalmatians are often considered to make good watchdogs, and they may have been useful to fire brigades as guard dogs to protect a firehouse and its equipment. Fire engines used to be drawn by fast and powerful horses, a tempting target for thieves, so Dalmatians were kept in the firehouse as deterrence to theft.

Carriage and Dalmatian Fire Truck

Even today the Dalmatian still firmly remains as an iconic mascot of the Fire Brigade and you can even find living examples (as pictured below) of this tradition alive and well in just about any big city around the globe.

 Dalmatian with fire engine
CCDalmatians logo